Last Saturday, I traded in one of my guitars to get a 5-string bass, as I didn’t feel like asking to borrow one from someone. I don’t think Billy Sheehan is going to lose sleep over me but I am a competent-enough bass player to play on my new album.

After all, I wrote the songs!

Playing bass is fun, because I don’t think about theory or anything geeky. I just find a groove and ride it. I taught myself how to play bass way back in 1993, when I started working on my own demos. Obviously my music is very guitar-driven (some would say guitar fiasco) so I had to learn how to not be a guitar player on bass. So, I learned to use fingers on the bass, no pick! Secondly, I studied how various bass players found “the pocket” and based my style off of that. I wasn’t about to play teenage 8th notes like most 80s hair band bass players but if a song called for just thumping on one note during a verse, then fine. But I always like busier bass players, like how they would fill up space in a three-piece.

Going over the new songs with the bass, I really set myself up for a challenge. Some lines have to be doubled so it’s like I am learning the bass all over again. I like it, it breaks me out of a rut. I also have to keep in mind that when these songs are going to be played live, it’s just going to be guitar-bass-drums. Playing one note won’t work, because then the meaning of the riff will be lost behind a guitar solo. So I have to be careful with my note choices. Last time I played bass on an album was back in 2003 with the first cd TWISTED METAL. I couldn’t get a bass player in time for the recordings so I strapped on a 5-string and found the zone. I did a decent job, nothing great but definitely nothing crappy.

Speaking of playing live…

Mary’s Basement is coming out of hiding and playing a private party on September 26th (so naturally, I can’t post where it will be). But we will be playing a public show on Friday October 2nd at Allendale Bar & Grill! Last time we played there, it was…interesting. Anyone who was there will remember what happened that night. For anyone else, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. We hope to add more new songs to the ever-growing list, as well as play the moldies-but-goodies. And if we get a repeat of what happened back in June, then I will confidently say that the gods have a wicked sense of humour.

I will also be doing my annual acoustic jaunt at A&M Music Center on Saturday, November 28th…two days after Thanksgiving. I did this two years ago at the record store and while I was nervous as a cat, it turned out to be cool. Did it last year and was asked to play again this year. Has it been a year since I was asked? WOW! Anyway, I will be doing a set of my own acoustic numbers from past albums, as well as fave pieces by guys such as Steve Hackett, Al DiMeola, Jeff Beck and the like. Last year I did a jazz version of “Georgia On My Mind” and while I don’t think I played it that great, the people liked it. What will I do this time? I really don’t know. But I am sure it’s something over my head that will drive me nuts.

Also with regards to performing live with my music: It is no longer Steve Bello Band, just Steve Bello. A lot of people agreed that it was a good move to change it, a few griped about it. But it was a necessary move to show that I mean business. I am not auditioning drummers and bass players, simply not ready to do that. So please do NOT email me with “Hey, will you give me a shot?” Sorry but that comes off as desperate. If I want to ask someone to audition, I will do so. Not right now. My main focus is to get the new album together, and hopefully out the door by October/November this year, though I have a dream target date in mind…

You’re going to have to guess what day that is.